It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all can link up your own posts below. Today I want to tackle make up sex: is it real? Is it helpful? Does it actually make us feel closer?
A reader sent me this letter:
Lately things have been a bit tense in our marriage. (My husband feels like things are fine, but from my perspective, there is a lingering tension). I feel like we are just snapping at each other a lot and, to be honest, I’m finding it hard to find things I “like” about my husband at the moment.
Sex has always been pretty amazing for us, which is a blessing. We don’t have it quite as often as we used to, but it is still very good when we do – physically speaking. I find when we have sex, though, it makes the tension melt away completely for a day or two. We’re all lovey-dovey again – making jokes all the time and getting on like a house on fire.
But I kind of feel like it is just blinding us with passion, so that we forget about the issues that we still need to work on. But the issues are still there!
I talked to my husband about this and he said perhaps it is just God’s good design for sex – that it makes the issues go away, and that we should therefore just keep having sex more often as a way to deal with the tension.
However, I feel that we still need to get to the bottom of why there is tension in our relationship. And I am beginning to find it harder and harder to “get into it”, emotionally speaking, when we have sex. What do you think? Do we just need to keep our “love tanks” filled up? Or should we try to sort through the deeper issues before we keep jumping into bed?
Great question! And what the reader notes is so common: sex makes us feel closer! That’s the upside. But can there be a downside to it, too? Well, let’s take a look at this in more detail:
Why Make Up Sex Works
Sex is fun! Sex makes you feel close because you literally are close–you’re naked together, you’re spending time together, you’re experiencing something intense and personal together. And when you do experience that arousal and orgasm, you produce the “bonding hormone”, oxytocin, which also makes you feel more intimate.
That’s why sex can often “cover a multitude of sins”. In my marriage, when we’re making love frequently and feel close, the fact that Keith occasionally bites his nails doesn’t bother me in the least. When we’re going through a dry spell, though, it bugs me to no end. It’s one little thing, but if we have sex, my bug-o-meter goes down.
Frequent sex, then, often helps us to feel significantly less ticked off about little things our spouses do, and even helps us to work through bigger issues because we’ve got this foundation of feeling lovely about each other.
Why Make Up Sex is Exciting!
Here’s the thing–what makes sex so intense is when we feel even more vulnerable and even more personal. That’s when our souls are really bared.
While this is certainly possible in our day-to-day lives, when we just talk to each other and share deep and intense things, one of the most frequent times it happens is after an argument. We’ve felt angry which means that we’ve felt hurt. We’ve expressed that hurt. We’ve been honest (sometimes brutally so). And once you’ve come to an agreement again after that intense time of honesty and vulnerability and intense feelings, then the sex is likely to be even more intense, too.
As I talk about frequently, sex is so much more than physical. When we’re feeling emotionally connected (and especially emotionally raw and vulnerable), then that sense of intimacy will be heightened, which will also heighten your libido and make sex even hotter! So, yes, that make up sex thing is absolutely real.
The Downside to Make Up Sex
However, our reader brings out an interesting point. It is possible to let the intimate aspects of sex cover over too MUCH. Instead of just covering up for the little things that bug us, or instead of just helping us heal from arguments more quickly, sometimes sex can be used to help us avoid dealing with difficult things altogether.
One of my close friends, who divorced her husband after he cheated on her, and is now remarried, told me that one area that she and her ex-husband always united on was sex. The sex was always great–it was everything else that was lousy. But because those other things were hard to talk about, they’d often end up in bed as a default, and avoid those heavy conversations.
Now, I don’t know that all couples go through this, because most of my readers have found that when other aspects of their relationships are going poorly the last thing they want to do is to make love. But certainly some people, like this reader and like my friend, fall into this category. What do you do then? Do you have to stop having sex so that you can actually talk? No, I don’t think so. I just think you need to be more purposeful about having those conversations.
How to Use Make Up Sex to Your Advantage in Your Marriage
So let’s sum up.
Schedule time to check in with each other–without sex!
Whether it’s going for a walk every night after dinner to talk, or spending every Sunday night asking, “what’s going on in your life? How are we doing?”, or something, make sure that you have regular, scheduled time to talk. One of the characteristics of happy couples that Shaunti Feldhahn found in her research was that when they were going through difficulties, they spent more time together, not less. Sometimes when there’s tension in the marriage we’re tempted to spend more time with the kids, or get busier with other activities. Stop. Connect regularly and actually talk.
If you make love after those sessions, that’s fine. But the purpose is to talk, not just to have sex. If you have certain questions that you always ask each other during these sessions it will likely be easier. Try these:
- Have you felt loved this week by me? Why or why not?
- What’s one thing I can do in the coming week to make you feel more loved?
- How can I support you in the things on your plate in the week ahead?
Ask those three questions to each other every week, and it’s less likely that you’ll have issues festering.
After an intense personal conversation, or a disagreement, make love
Then, after these intense conversations, or after arguments, make love. Make use of those bonding hormones! It will help you to get over the awkwardness or anger faster, and help you feel on the same page again.
Make sex regular
The more you make love, the more those little things won’t bug you. So make sex a frequent thing in your marriage–while you’re still checking in regularly–and you’ll find things are much more like smooth sailing!
Now it’s your turn! What advice do you have for us today?